Northeast Michigan saw varied weather patterns in 2018

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz It was a cool day in Alpena Sunday as a system is slated to bring freezing rain and snow into the area today. Last year Alpena saw record heat and a late spring snowstorm in a year that was above average temperature-wise and also drier than normal.

Northeast Michigan saw a little bit of everything in terms of weather in 2018 and so far 2019 has been wet, snowy and icy.

There was an Arctic cold spell in January, a record-breaking snowstorm in mid-April and scorching heat and drought for a good portion of the summer.

In January 2018, there were six days when temperatures dropped below zero, with the lowest being -16 on Jan. 6. Despite that, there were many warmer than average days with the peak being 51 degrees on Jan.11.

February began with an extended cold spell as low temperatures were below zero for 11 of the first 12 days of the month before temperatures began to warm later. A string of days that saw temperatures in the 50s and a day in the 60s ended the month. Snowfall for January and February was well below the norm, as only14.9 inches fell in January, compared to the average of 21.3. Only eight inches fell in February, which was well shy of the 19.5 inch average.

March was colder than average and the Alpena area saw its first significant snow when about 12 inches of new snow fell from March 6-8. That, however, was nothing compared to what was in store for April.

The month of April overall was a tad cooler than average, but one week during the month will stick in the minds of residents of Northeast Michigan.

On April 13, a snow system moved into the area that dropped a meager 3.5 inches of snow, but by the time the storm ended, 20 inches of snow fell in Alpena. In some offshore areas, as much as 31 inches fell. The spring storm brought municipalities to a halt, forced snow days for students and long list of other cancellations.

At the end of the month, 30 inches of snow had fallen in Alpena, which easily exceeded the 5.8 inch average for the month.

Warm weather began to arrive in late May and there were several days when the mercury climbed into the mid-80s and topped out at 90 degrees on May 25. There was also a few rain events that helped the month surpass the monthly average for precipitation.

The month of June felt more like July typically does as there were many days in the 80s and four days in the 90s. On June 30, the temperature just missed hitting triple digits when 99 degrees was recorded at Alpena County Regional Airport.

July was hot and humid and there was little rain, which caused moderate drought for Northeast Michigan. Most of the rain received for the month came in two rain events, July 25 and July 28 when 2.5 inches fell. The excessive heat and lack of rain caused grass to turn brown and beaches to be busy. That remained true for August too as temperatures remained high and rain was scarce. The average temperature of 65.4 degrees was exceeded by five degrees.

The average high temperature for August 2018 was 81.5 degrees. In its annual report, National Weather Service said the summer of 2018 in Alpena was among the top 10 warmest summers on record.

In September, there were many 80 degree days to kick off the month, but as the month continued, temperatures began to drop into the 50s and fall was the area experienced weather traditionally seen in the fall.

The first significant snow this winter arrived on Nov. 9 when about 4.5 inches fell and stuck around as temperatures remained cold. At the end of the month the average high temperature was 36.1 degrees, lower than the 43.1 degree average. December was above average temperature-wise and the region saw significantly less snowfall for the month than it usually does. A majority of the11.5 inches of the snow Alpena received in December was on New Year’s Eve when seven inches fell.

Normally, about 20 inches of snow falls in December.

The weather has been up and down early in 2019. The area has had temperatures in the teens and the last few days have been close to 40 degrees. Today, the area is expected to see another system of snow and freezing rain move in. National Weather Serice Meterologist Sabrina Jauernic said Alpena could receive as much as four inches of snow and it could make driving trechorous.

“It will transition from snow, to freezing rain, back to snow and then back to rain, so there will be icing,” Jauernic said. “I suspect the roads will be icy and slippery.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at Follow him on Twitter